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A dramatic stage-migration in diagnosis of prostate cancer has led to earlier detection of clinically localized carcinoma and an increased use of radiation therapy. The p53 protein responds to irradiation-induced DNA damage by removing critically damaged cells from the proliferative pool. This review will focus on the dominant role that p53-dependent cellular senescence, rather than cell death, plays in determining the radiosensitivity of human prostate cancer cells in vitro. The finding that senescence is a primary mechanism of tumor regression indicates that p53 activators or downstream effectors may prove effective in radiosensitizing some carcinoma of the prostate.